State Amends Coup Plot Charges

THE state has amended charges against six men who were arrested last year for allegedly plotting to overthrow President Robert Mugabe’s government and replace him with Rural Housing minister, Emmerson Mnangagwa.

 

The six, Albert Matapo, Nyasha Zivuku, Oncemore Mudzurahona, Emmanuel Marara, Patson Mupfure, Shingirai Mutemachani and Rangarirai Mazivofa, who are due to appear in court on Monday, are now being charged with instigating members of the security forces to overthrow Mugabe’s government.

In a court record made available to the Zimbabwe Independent, the six accused approached members of the Zimbabwe National Army and the Airforce of Zimbabwe to oust Mugabe’s government.

The record reads: “Albert Matapo, Nyasha Zivuku, Oncemore Mudzurahona, Emmanuel Marara,Patson Mupfure,Shingirai Mutemachani and Rangarirai Mazivofa…in concert with a common purpose unlawfully and with the intention of overthrowing the Government of Zimbabwe instigated Captain Shepherd Maromo, Captain Olivine Maroala, Corporal Elias Gapare, Charles Nyashadzashe Mufudze, Sergeant Owen Bafana and Ronald Matanga, members of the Zimbabwe National Army and the Airforce of Zimbabwe, to cause the armed forces to overthrow the constitutionally elected Government of Zimbabwe by staging a coup d’état.”

In May last year when the six were arrested, the state charged them with conspiring to plot a coup against the government.

“Albert Matapo who is a former member of the army conspired with his co-accused and recruited members of the security forces, that is members from the Zimbabwe National Army, the Airforce of Zimbabwe and the Zimbabwe Republic Police whom he gave some tasks in preparation of a coup,” reads the initial charge sheet.

Investigations into Mnangagwa’s involvement in the alleged coup last year hit a brickwall after it emerged that the police were not able to substantiate the claims.

Superintendent Simon Mundondwa, the officer commanding Law and Order in Harare who is the investigating officer in the case, told a court while under cross examination that suggestions that Mnangagwa was linked to the coup had proved false as no evidence was found to support the claim.

The trial of the six men failed to start on Monday when the lawyer representing them, Charles Warara of Warara & Associates, asked the court for more time to interview witnesses in the case.

Matapo and his co-accused have been in custody since their arrest in May last year.

By Lucia Makamure